Networking Opportunities: The Key to Real Growth & Shorter Sales Cycles

In a post-quarantine era dominated by digital communication, our little team is noticing a real spike in the number of professionals who are rediscovering the unparalleled value of in-person networking. This return to face-to-face interactions is not just a nod to traditional business practices but a strategic move that is significantly shortening sales cycles and creating substantial growth opportunities.  

To anyone who has quickly grown a business using primarily online means, however, the idea of in-person networking may seem quaint.  The thing is, many businesses still rely on longer (more than just a quick click!) sales cycles, and if the success of your business involves having meaningful, reliable connections with other humans, I do suggest you give the below at least a skim; we dug into this topic a bit and made an infographic for you below.  

The Revival of In-Person Networking

In the wake of a world that went almost entirely virtual, the business landscape is once again buzzing with the energy of in-person meetings. Locally, the Oshawa Chamber is at the forefront of this shift, facilitating a plethora of networking opportunities and having the privilege of watching networking work its magic in real time. These gatherings are more than mere social events; they are strategic arenas where trust is built, ideas are exchanged, and collaborations are forged.  We’re also doing our best to offer events that are suited to different personality types, business verticals, and levels of tenure in business experience.

Building Trust through Personal Interaction

The digital age, despite its numerous advantages, often strips communication of its personal touch. In-person networking brings back the nuanced, non-verbal cues that are integral to building trust. A handshake, eye contact, or the energy in a room can bridge gaps that emails or video calls cannot. Members who engage in these face-to-face interactions often report faster decision-making processes, as the trust established in person tends to expedite business negotiations.  

But why does in-person continue to matter so much?

The Power of Non-Verbal Communication in Networking

Image featuring photo portrait of author Nicholas Boothman with two book covers in the background
These two books are great primers, especially if you’re new to in-person networking.

My friend Nick has sold millions of books on the topic of rapport building, and it was Nick who first put me on to the fact that non-verbal communication plays a pivotal role in effective networking, often conveying more than words ever could. Studies suggest that anywhere between 55% and  93% of communication effectiveness is determined by non-verbal cues. This includes body language, facial expressions, eye contact, and tone of voice. In the context of networking, these elements are invaluable. I know I’m oversimplifying a bit (sorry, Nick!), but a confident posture, a warm smile, or an engaged nod can create an atmosphere of trust and openness, essential for fruitful business interactions. 

Eye contact, in particular, is a powerful tool in establishing rapport and showing attentiveness. (To help you remember this point, Nick suggests that you take a moment to mentally note the person’s eye colour but…you know, don’t stare and make it weird!)   Moreover, the subtle nuances of voice tone can significantly influence the reception of your message, whether it’s enthusiasm, sincerity, or professionalism. These non-verbal cues, often lost in digital communication, are critical in building and strengthening relationships, a key aspect of effective networking. This emphasis on the unspoken aspects of communication reinforces my key point here: in-person networking, with its often subtle array of non-verbal interactions, is an indispensable tool in shortening sales cycles and fostering real growth in today’s business world.

Shortening Sales Cycles with Direct Engagement

Alright – I know you’re pursuing growth and other goals for your organization, so let’s get on with that!  One of the most tangible benefits of in-person networking is the significant reduction in sales cycles. The immediacy of face-to-face interactions allows for quicker, more effective communication and negotiation. When professionals meet in person, the need for lengthy email threads or back-and-forth phone calls is reduced, leading to faster decision-making and deal closure.

But don’t make every connection all about pushing for sales; that’s just bad manners!  

Networking is not just about selling; it’s about growing. The opportunities for growth that arise from in-person networking are multifaceted and significant but they are an outcome of the initial and necessary rapport-building.

Infographic showing benefits of in-person vs. technology networking

Access to Diverse Opportunities

Through the Chamber’s networking events, businesses gain access to a wide array of opportunities. From partnerships and joint ventures to mentorship and knowledge exchange, the potential for growth is immense. The diverse membership of the Chamber ensures that businesses of all sizes and from various sectors can find opportunities that align with their growth strategies.  At the Chamber, we continue to be delighted to discover even further diversity in the range of business offerings within our community.

Exchanging Ideas and Sparking Innovation

Networking events hosted by the Chamber are not just about meeting people; they are melting pots of ideas. Conversations sparked over a coffee meetup or during the lunch break at a seminar can lead to innovative solutions to common business challenges. The diversity of industries represented within the Chamber ensures a cross-pollination of ideas, fostering an environment ripe for innovation and growth.

Fostering a Supportive Business Community

The Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce is more than a network; it’s a community with a mission to build community prosperity. This sense of community and mission fosters a supportive environment where businesses feel encouraged to take risks, innovate, and grow. The Chamber’s events are designed to nurture this community, ensuring that members have the support they need to navigate the challenges of business ownership.

The Chamber has been in the connection space for nearly one hundred years now, so the popularity surge of in-person networking with smart, younger entrepreneurs is not a complete surprise.  We’re so pleased to see a new generation of folks out enjoying interpersonal connections while building their businesses and their networks.  More broadly, however, it’s great to see an overall resurgence in in-person networking. These events are about building a robust, supportive business community, shortening sales cycles, and paving the way for real, sustainable growth. In this era of digital overload, the power of personal connection is proving to be more valuable than ever, reinforcing the adage that sometimes, the best way forward is through a firm handshake and a face-to-face conversation.

Want a free autographed copy of Nicholas Boothman’s book I referenced above? You deserve one if you’ve read this far, so drop me a line here and the first three people to reach out get the book!

Jason King

Jason King

As the CEO of the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce, I blend entrepreneurship and B2B tech marketing expertise to bring you essential news and insights. Join me in navigating the business landscape as we work together to foster growth, collaboration, and build community prosperity in the heart of Oshawa.


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